Music Festivals Remain a Man's, Man's, Man's World
As we round out the end of the week, all of the festival hangovers from the full-blown fuckery at FPSF have subsided and we're all a bit less foggy, it's time to look back at the festival in a slightly different light. Let's put aside the rants about overpriced water and gripe about something way more important -- let's talk about chicks, man.
Photo by Jim Bricker The Alabama Shakes' Brittany Howard
I suppose I should clarify. As a chick, I will not be griping about the chicks at the festival, or their choice of attire, or any of the other random catty topic I'd normally be touching upon. What I'm talking about in this here blog post is how blatantly obvious it is that most festivals snub female artists, even as they book them into their lineups on a more regular basis.
Good luck finding more than a scant few female musicians headlining this year's major music festivals. Bjork is at Bonnaroo, making her the only girl to headline the festival over its four days. ACL has not thrown a single female headliner into its mix this year, and Coachella didn't buy into the idea of girls being able to hang with the big boys either. In fact, the desert fest only had an abysmal ten percent of female-fronted acts across its entire lineup, because, well, cool.
This is not a dig at FPSF, either. Honestly, Houston's homegrown, five-year-old music festival is a rad thing to have around. But given that this is Houston, and we just came off of a sweaty-ass FPSF weekend, it's going to serve as my example here. In years past, FPSF has taken its fair share of flack over lineups that have been light on women in any form, and it appears that they've worked to improve that, with more female artists in the 2013 lineup than ever.
Photo by Marc Brubaker
But it's not just the quantity of female performers, but the type of female performer, booked at FPSF and other big festivals, that makes me wonder if the guys booking these dude-centric events still just don't get it. It's not enough to just throw some females on your lineup to quell the whining about equality and call it a day.
Where are all the female badasses on these lineups? Sure, this year's FPSF had some chicks, but I am going to go out on a limb here and say that these artists were booked less for their musical quality and more for the novelty aspect. I don't care for plenty of male artists who played at FPSF, but I still feel they were booked on their musical validity. The women? Not so much.
Take Kitty Pryde, for instance. It's no secret that I'm not a fan of her music, but that's neither here nor there. Kitty Pryde has little to no musical ability, and she's literally a product of social media; a flavor of the week, if you will. She's hardly an established artist, but nevertheless was chosen to help represent FPSF's female talent.
Perhaps it's because she's got this strange sexuality that is both alluring to men and appalling to women. She meows, flits, and flirts her way through her lyrics to avoid having to put any real effort into making music. It's ridiculous, and it seems to be that she was on that lineup merely because some dudes found her meowing and torn-tights schtick to be intriguing and assumed other dudes would too.
Cat Power is another example of how there was a wide margin between the established male artists booked this year and the female acts. I'm not, by any means, negating the fact that Chan Marshall has got some legit musical prowess, but let's be honest here. Part of the reason for watching her is to see if she fell back into that whole messy meltdown mode.
She's got the ability, to be sure, but has become more of a novelty than anything else thanks to her antics. And she is a recognizable name, in part, because she might throw a tantrum. Oh good. Let's go watch the chick have a meltdown, 'cause it's entertaining and somewhat comfortable to watch a woman throw a fit. We like it when they fit our preconceived notions.